FROM 'DISGRACEFUL TRANSGRESSION' TO GENDER STUDIES: RESEARCH ON GREEK PEDERASTY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
The author points out that at the beginning of the 20th century differences in the norms concerning homosexuality between antique Greece and the contemporary world were a major problem for the researchers and teachers working on ancient history. Such themes were either omitted or treated in accord with modern moral standards. The Polish author Kazimierz Jarecki (1931) for instance interpreted passages in primary sources dealing with love of boys not in terms of physical contacts, but as expressions of delight and care of the elder towards male youth. German scholars from the beginnings of the 20th century considered those instances as an element of the type of life led by warriors, who spent prolonged periods of time away from home (Carl O. Müller, Erich Bethe, Wilhelm Kroll); apart form that Bethe postulated researching homosexuality without evaluating it in accord with modern standards. Further impulses were introduced by anthropology. The implementation of results achieved in anthropologic studies to researching the history of ancient Greece brought forward the idea of homosexual intercourses as initiation rites in which elder men (the active partners) introduced their younger charges (the passive element) into the group of adult citizens (among others: Harald Patzer, Bernard Sergent). An important phase in the research of ancient Greek homosexuality began with the publishing of the fundamental works on the history of sexuality by Michel Foucault (1976) and Kenneth Dover (1978) and with the development of gender studies. The result of the latter endeavours was the concept of the sexual intercourse as the expression of domination of the active partner over the passive participant (man over woman) formulated by Eva Keuls. Eva Cautarella pointed out also that ancient Greeks did not consider homosexual intercourses as contrary to nature. This last proposition seems to be confirmed by the depictions on Greek vases, which show numerous and various scenes of homosexual love, suggesting at the same time their leisurely aspect rather than a ritual and cultural function.
CEJSH db identifier